Home Stretch
By Izzy

Chandrila had been just about the last system to defect to the Confederates before the war had broken out. Mon Mothma had tendered the Articles just before Orn Free Taa had called for the emergency powers to be given to Palpatine, and there’d been calls then to arrest her and hold her hostage, but at the time there’d been a dwindling hope that all-out war could still be avoided, and cooler heads had insisted on not provoking a Confederate world, especially not one of the ones with a more wholesome reputation.

It was still something Padmé found it hard to come to terms with, that the man who she had spent her life looking up to was in fact the monster the Jedi had advised her he was, to an extent they were keeping secret even from the majority of the Confederate leaders(something Padmé understood, but still found herself objecting to on principle). That left out out the painful shock that he had beyond a doubt betrayed the Republic the way he had; she wasn’t in a position to be in denial about just what he was doing in that respect. That betrayal was something she talked about with Mon Mothma a lot, even though she wasn’t yet allowed to tell her what the Jedi had said.

But the other former Senator was a smart woman, and it was easy for her to figure out the Jedi saw in Palpatine a particular threat to them. Not that there wasn’t a more mundane explanation to find for that, and she found it, too, as she and Anakin accompanied Padmé back home for the celebrations of Naboo’s New Year. Poor woman, as the three of them sat alone in the tiny spacecraft, Motée and Ellé having retreated to sleep, so eagerly she presented her findings and calculations to her friend’s fiancee, and Padmé, as she listened to Anakin gently explain that they knew already that he was trying to neutralize the Order(which probably offended her; she could be very proud at times). Padmé wished he would reward her by being honest, by at least telling her that actually, he probably intended to eventually wipe the Order out completely if he ever won the war, even if he held back the whole mystical Sith Lord thing.

She couldn’t help but feel pleased herself, though, when he then grinned and added, “He’ll have a harder time dealing with us though. Especially since there are going to be even more of us soon,” and glanced down at Padmé’s belly, where two new potential Jedi were growing. The other Order didn’t procreate much, but the idea was catching on here. Dooku had taken on a mistress specifically for the purpose, and then there was Obi-Wan and Sabé; after her divorce she’d come to fight the war with the then-stripped Confederate forces, and Padmé had not failed to notice the extensive amount of time she’d been in company with the man she’d once confessed to her former mistress she’d been lusting after back when he’d been guarding her during his final padawan days. She didn’t know how much Obi-Wan would ultimately be willing to give Sabé, though.

“He’s hoping they’ll kill you first, though,” said Mon Mothma softly. “All of you. And you them.” That made Padmé shiver. Their Jedi had for the longest time done all they could to avoid killing the members of the other side, at least directly, if only because they knew that was playing straight into Palpatine’s hands. But it had become harder and harder to avoid, and on his last trip out, Anakin and Obi-Wan had killed three Jedi, two of them very old friends of the latter. They were both still a little shaken over it.

Anakin showed no sign of it now though. Indeed he said, “We just have to get more of them over here. I suppose I can tell you we’re getting a whole group of defectors; they’ll be announcing it publically tomorrow. Including three young padawans who have lost their masters. Obi-Wan hints one of them, this young Togruta girl, will be coming over to us, I think to be his new apprentice.”

“Wow,” said Padmé, who hadn’t been told about that. “I’ll be glad to meet her, then.”

The console started beeping; they were getting ready to enter Naboo’s system. Padmé’s hand strayed to her belly; her children were coming to their home planet for the first time. She wasn’t sure how much they would connect themselves to it; the life of the Jedi was one of constant traveling, and not belonging to much still. But as much as they let her, she would make sure they knew where they came from.

For the first time she wondered uneasily what her parents would think. She hadn’t even told them she and Anakin were marrying, let alone that she was pregnant too. The marriage wasn’t exactly caused by the pregnancy, though it had been decided on as happening now because of it, but they might not be happy at their daughter getting tied in such a way to such a man, or her children entering his lifestyle, though it was partly that Padmé was relying on to keep the Queen from recalling her, along with the willingness of Dooku himself to urge the Queen that she not. Well, all that, and that after two and half years of Naboo becoming familiar with their various allies, noone else wanted Padmé’s job.

Anakin saw her anxiety, and placed an arm on her shoulders. “Don’t worry about the Queen,” he said. “We won’t let you go, I promise.”

He didn’t quite had the authority to promise that, and he hadn’t quite hit on what was bothering her, though it had been easy enough for him to see something had been. Marriage took work, Padmé knew, but this one might take work that usual. But nothing soothed her more than his touch.

“Philosophies must give way to reality,” Mon Mothma added. “You are doing the hardest work given to anyone from Naboo right now.” Wasn’t that the truth. “I hope they appreciate it.”

“Some of them,” said Padmé. She knew there was talk on Naboo of actually changing sides back. That terrified her. She didn’t know what she would do, if in the future she had to chose between her home and her husband and children. Just idle talk, her father had written to her, and she repeated it to herself.

Anakin’s embrace tightened without either saying anything, and she held on and waited as the console beeped again. But then it continued beeping, and they realized it wasn’t because they were dropping out of hyperspace.

“It’s a message!” Mon Mothma finally exclaimed, and jumped up and ran over. “From General Kenobi. It’s for you, Knight Skywalker.” Both of them joined her by the console, and Anakin brought up the image of Obi-Wan. He looked very happy.

“They’ve done it, Anakin,” he said. “Corellia’s joining our side. I just got off the comm with Garm Bel Iblis; he’ll be here in three days.”

It was news so unbelievably wonderful all three of them started cheering more than loudly enough to wake Motée and Ellé, who ran in to receive the news as Anakin and Obi-Wan tried to continue their conversation, but finally shouted they’d comm each other again when Anakin had landed.

“This changes everything,” Mon Mothma was murmuring for the third time. It was worth repeating. This could mean the war won. An ally of Corellia’s might be too much for the Republic to fight against.

And what then, though? The question did occur to Padmé, as she saw Anakin’s face turn pensive for a moment. But then he was smiling again, putting that in the same place where he harbored his fears as a father to be. Today was a good day. Padmé couldn’t wait to land.